Monday, 17 July 2017 | MYT 12:00 AM
Ong shuts the door on ‘unavailable’ six
PETALING JAYA: The door is shut for the six players who failed to report for the national Under-23 team’s centralised training camp.
Coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee has dropped Mohd Safawi Rashid and Muhd Haziq Nadzli (Johor Darul Ta’zim), Mathew Davies and Mohd Nor Azam Azih (Pahang) and S. Kumahraan and Syameer Kutty Abba (Penang) for the AFC Under-23 Championship qualifiers in Bangkok from July 19-23. The six players’ Super League clubs refused to release them for the five-day qualifiers.
And the six may also find themselves out of the final 18-man squad for the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games from Aug 14-29.
Malaysia will open their Group H campaign in Bangkok against Indonesia on Thursday before facing hosts Thailand (July 21) and Mongolia (July 23). The group winners will automatically qualify for the Finals in China in 2018.
“It won’t be fair for the six players to join the team for the SEA Games at the expense of the other players,” said Kim Swee after the team’s training session at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya yesterday.
“We will take 22 players to Bangkok. Three more players reported for training today and winger Tommy Mawat was dropped due to injury.
“But we’ve enough replacements for his position.”
Meanwhile, the Football Association of Malaysia have asked the Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP), the M-League organisers, to postpone the matches from Aug 4-9 to enable the Under-23 team to train for a longer period for the SEA Games.
“If the matches are postponed, we will get 14 days to prepare for the Games. If not, we will only get five days to train together,” said Kim Swee.
At the Games, Malaysia are in Group A with Myanmar, Singapore, Laos and Brunei.
Group B consists of 15-time winners and defending champions Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Timor Leste and the Philippines.